Sunday, May 18, 2008

Saving Grace
Mark Grace doesn't seem to be a Hall of Famer to me. There's a lot to like in how he played the game and how he stayed away from the temptations which did in so many of his contemporaries.

The question I always ask myself when thinking about a Hall of Famer: Was there a peroiod of four or five seasons where this player was among the two or three best at his position?

Grace was a really good hitter and a tremendous defensive first baseman. In another time period, when first basemen were not expected to hit 40 homers and drive in 110 runs, he might have been considered better than he was in his time.

Several times, we've heard about how the cloud of performance-enhancing drugs has tarnished the careers of the guilty, and the innocent. When we talk about that, we usually think of players like Ken Griffey Jr. -- perhaps the greatest player of his generation -- not being appreciated and dogged because of the injuries which broke down so many like him before.

But there's more to it.

What about players like Grace? Footnotes because so many around him cheated and made his accomplishments look above average?

How many more hits would Grace have had if the pitchers he faced played by the same code of ethics as he did?

We'll never know.

Another wonderful bi-product of the steroid era.



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